CRM the saviour in times of need

Integrator Vector is warning end-users to cut investments in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions at their peril and instead look towards this aspect of their business for inspiration

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By  Julian Pletts Published  February 17, 2009

Integrator Vector is warning end-users to cut investments in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions at their peril and instead look towards this aspect of their business for inspiration. It argues that survival depends on the strength of a company’s clients and the relationship they enjoy with them more than it ever has done before.

Although its main headquarters are based in Romania, Vector Software has been making inroads in the Middle East market for just over three years now.

In those three years the systems integrator has snared contracts with some high-profile customers, including Emaar, Gulf Bank and The National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Vector primarily serves as an Oracle enterprise solutions provider, working tirelessly to promote the vendor's business intelligence and ERP offerings. As a European systems integrator Vector is in a position to compare the Middle East market with that of continental Europe.

"The Middle East market is much more open to Oracle," claimed Ovidiu Oancea, executive director at Vector Software. "Fortunately the competition in the Middle East market is not as high as it is in Europe. Technology services for Oracle products are offered only by a few companies here compared to Europe where the number is significantly higher."

Despite the comparatively low number of Oracle partners on the ground in the Middle East - a number that if the huge size of last year's GITEX ‘Oracle World'  hall was anything to go by is only likely to increase - Vector remains conservative in its approach to the market.

The firm does claim, however, that it brings an edge to this market and that it has the experience and expertise that it can transpose from its European business to the Middle East.

"We are bringing not only the Oracle implementation expertise, but also the project management knowledge, and how we deliver the service is our competitive edge," insisted Oancea.

"We are learning by doing and if we have expertise that we gain here we will also take that back to Europe. If we are implementing for a large company in, for instance, real estate, that expertise will increase our value. That way, we can bring more value and we now have over 100 implementations," he added.

Vector Software is currently trying to position itself in the Middle East market as one of the primary choices for enterprises when it comes to implementing the Oracle-owned Siebel CRM system.

"This is a new direction for Oracle and for the partners. We have some experience and after we compared the features and the functionalities we came to the conclusion that the way Siebel is specialised on verticals and industries is the future," asserted Oancea.

Despite the global financial crisis, the company is confident that the pace of the Middle East market will hold up, ensuring a sustained demand for business intelligence and ERP solutions.

"What we can see here is that companies are interested in seeing value and new products which are state-of the-art - the demand is more than Europe," said Oancea.

"Companies will be slowing investment in IT systems and budgets to see what is going on around them. But these systems are critical, and if you are talking about customer relationship management you have to invest in retaining customers. You cannot just stop because there is a financial crisis, the core of your business is the customer so you have to invest there as normal."

Vector's view that the services sector in the Middle East arena will continue to grow is in common with many of its solutions peers.

But the firm's management is more than aware of the fact that, despite strong margins in the solutions business, the sector relies on heavy investment from the very enterprises that are in a cautious mood at the start of 2009.

Vector Software

Address:

Vector Software
DIC 17, Office 357
PO Box 500263
Dubai, UAE

Contact:

Tel: +971 4 361 6925

Headcount: 120

Vendor partners: Oracle, Hyperion, Siebel

Market focus:

Vector has worked hard to position itself in Europe as an Oracle reseller. The firm commenced operations in the Middle East three years ago and is looking to establish a similar focus here including dominance in the Siebel applications sector.

Website: www.vector.ae

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